Welcome back to the conclusion of our chat with Ed Matuskey, creator of the Brass and Steam tarot deck.
Part one can be read here.
Part two can be read here.
Image by Alec Boca
Airship Ambassador: The completed artwork so far is pretty amazing, and the completed kickstarter ensures there will be more. Are there any plans for a sequel or spinoff?
Ed Matuskey: Funny you should mention that—as part of the design process I realized I was essentially creating a whole world, with all sorts of interesting themes beginning to show themselves (ie, corporations vs small businesses, mass production vs handmade, etc). I think there’s enough here to produce a companion volume that could be used as a game setting book or simply extra flavor for the deck that I think people might enjoy. And I just happen to be friends with a couple really talented authors who have written a variety of game books over the years…As for another tarot deck, I’ll just say that the Tarot of Brass & Steam was the /second/ deck idea I had all those years ago—my first idea is patiently waiting its turn!
AA: For the aspiring producer, what lessons did you learn along the way on this project? Anything you would or will do differently going forward?
EM: Start slow. Work up what you want to do, then execute a portion of that, to get an idea of the process. Learn as much as you can. And be willing to invest your own money until you get a product you’re happy with—only then consider going to others for funding.
Image by Alec Boca
AA: Most of the people I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that their project is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered creating this deck?
EM: That’s totally the case for me—I have a day job that finances my creative endeavors. On the one hand, it’s great to not have the pressure of having to produce something right away that generates income, and to not stress about whether I’ll sell enough at a convention—on the other hand, sometimes when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is design another card, or promote the project, or hunt for artists. However, I very much appreciate the stability of the day job, even when it cuts into my creative time—but it helps that I enjoy what I do.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk and tarot, what other interests fill your time?
EM: Lots of reading, especially science fiction and fantasy (big surprise, I’m sure). Watching classic Doctor Who (though I do enjoy the new stuff)—I have a respectable 4th Doctor costume I wear to Norwescon. Anything related to Sherlock Holmes (I visited 221b Baker Street when I visited London a few years ago—so awesome). Playing lots of board games with friends. And going to the local club at least once a month to dance, drink with friends, and play pool.
AA: Three quick fire, random questions – what is your favorite vehicle, dinner food, and historical event?
EM: The TARDIS, pasta with spicy meat sauce, and the Moon landing.
Image by Alec Boca
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
EM: If you have a big dream, go for it—but be willing to put in the work. Everyone has ideas for something that might be awesome—the people who get beyond the idea stage are the ones who show their commitment to it, especially when they need other people to make it come to fruition. Don’t expect people to give you their work in exchange for the promise of future reward (unless you already have a partner who’s just as onboard for the idea as you are!)—figure out a way to make it worth their time now, or wait until you can. And don’t be afraid to learn how to do some of it yourself—the tools for making amazing things have never been more available for us to learn. Remember the Empress!
Thanks, Ed, for sharing your deck and your thoughts with us!
I’m greatly looking forward to the finished artwork for all of the cards.